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Antibiotics are selective for bacterial cells

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Antibiotics have made it possible for humans to fight infectious disease. When considering how antibiotics control bacterial pathogens we find that the mechanism is the prevention of some necessary physiological process of the bacterium. For example, streptomycin prevents the formation of protein within the bacterium. So preventing the bacteria from translating and building crucially important proteins will kill bacteria. This provides the means by which the pathogens are controlled once the human body is infected. What I pose to you is that humans are made up of cells and these cells require that we build proteins. Why don't these same antibiotics harm our cells and damage us when we take them to control disease? If an antibiotic inhibits a ribosome form functioning in the translation of a protein in a bacterium why won't that same drug inhibit our ribosome? Build a discussion by providing possible reasons why certain antibiotics can control bacterial without doing any serious damage to humans.

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Solution Summary

Antibiotics selectively act against bacteria while leaving human cells unharmed. They do this be targeting specific components or processes in bacterial cells that differ from those of human cells. Some antibiotics are also dosed in such a way that they are able to harm bacteria, but do not have a high enough concentration to harm human cells.

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The reason that antibiotics can harm bacterial cells without harming human cells is because antibiotics target bacterial specific processes and components. Different antibiotics affect different bacteria in different ways. One example is antibiotics that target bacterial cell walls. Most bacteria have a cell wall that includes a molecule called peptidoglycan, while human cells do not contain peptidoglycan. Certain antibiotics prevent this molecule from being assembled, therefore the bacterial cell wall is unable to be built correctly, which leads ...

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